Poring over the abundance of information presented at major scientific meetings is like trying to drink from a firehose.Â Imposing an Emory-centric filter on this year’s American Heart Association Scientific Sessions meeting in Los Angeles, here are three highlights, with a shoutout to the AHA journal Circulation, which provides a database of meeting abstracts.
Alginate encapsulation, a therapeutic delivery tactic to get stem cells to stay in the heart
Presenter Rebecca Levit, MD, a postdoc in cardiology division chair W. Robert Taylorâ€™s laboratory, was a finalist for an Early Career Investigator Award.
Â Stem cell therapies for myocardial repair have shown promise in preclinical trials, but lower than expected retention and viability of transplanted cells. In an effort to improve this, we employed an alginate encapsulation strategy for human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) and attached them to the heart with a biocompatible PEG hydrogel patch in a rat MI model. Encapsulation allows for diffusion of pro-angiogenic cytokines and growth factors made by the hMSCs while maintaining them at the site of implantationâ€¦Alginate encapsulated hMSCs attached to the heart with a hydrogel patch resulted in a highly significant improvement in left ventricular function after acute myocardial infarction. The mechanism for this markedly enhanced effect appears to be increased cell survival and retention.
Â Note: alginate already has a wide variety of uses, for example in culinary arts and to make dental impressions.
suPAR, a biomarker connected with depression, inflammation and cardiovascular outcomes. Step back, C-reactive protein
Depression, inflammation (Manocha, Vaccarino)
Cardiovascular outcomes (Eapen, Quyyumi)
Coronary microvascular dysfunction (Corban, Samady)
Predicting mental-stress myocardial ischemia via a public speaking test
A study probing myocardial ischemia (a lack of blood flow to the heart) induced by psychological stress, described in this Emory Public Health article. The presentation by Ronnie Ramadan examines physiological responses to a public speaking test as a way of predicting more severe problems.